KEEP THE GASLIGHT BURNING **** USA 2018 Dir: Lou Elsey, Dave Elsey 18 mins
In this marvellous short adapted from an R Chetwynd-Hayes story, Kate Armstrong Ross becomes the latest in a series of ill-fated housekeepers arriving to take care of one-eyed widow Mrs Maxwell (Markie Post), who never leaves her room and whose care is centred around a single rule: her gaslight (the only one in the house) must always be kept burning.
When the two meet, Mrs Maxwell offers her young charge the keys to the house if she performs a special favour, one that involves “two minutes of bravery”. Atmospheric and beautifully crafted, with repeated cutaways to the gaslight meter (note the TALES FROM THE CRYPT in-jokes : it’s a product of “Grimsdyke Gas Works Ltd, Cushing Branch”!), bloody flashbacks and an inventively playful score, this is a highly evocative homage to Victorian cinematic horror. Long term genre fans will be particularly delighted by the climactic appearance of make-up legend Rick Baker as a splendidly grotesque EC Comics-style ghoul croaking “Let me in!”
Review by Steven West